Intelligent Life Out There? Maybe, But They’ll Never Come Here

Astronomers have concluded there could be billions of other planets in our galaxy capable of supporting life, and hundreds of them within just 30 light years of earth.

Just 30 light years? Get me my astronaut suit! If we were to set out for one of those planets in one of our 20,000-mph spacecraft, we’d reach it in a mere one-million-five-thousand years!

As far as ever reaching the speed of light or even just 1 percent of that speed, that’s impossible. Aliens from other worlds may exist, but they have never and can never visit us. All those stories you hear about UFOs and alien abductions? Total bunk. The distances are just too vast.

Cozying Up to One of the Only Campfires in Antarctica

A related but different subject: Next time you’re feeling miserable in the hot sun, just picture this: Antarctica during the dark season, with only a few campfires scattered throughout the whole continent, and you happen to be next to one of those campfires feeling its warmth (but not close enough to burn yourself). That’s how it is with us vis-à-vis our sun. We’re in the middle of trillions and trillions of cubic miles of emptiness and near-absolute zero and desolation, but happen to be just close enough to a star to feel its warmth but not close enough to burn up. (To put it into scale, if the sun were the size of a campfire, it would be about 1,000 km away from the next closest star.)

Likewise, next time you’re out in the cold, just remember that cold is only relative. You’re actually feeling heat from the sun, but less of it than you’re used to. You want cold? Try absolute zero, or 455 below zero on the Farenheit scale. That (or a couple of degrees above that) is the norm in this universe.

The potential temperature range is from near-absolute zero out beyond Pluto, to a thousand degrees near Venus (and of course a lot hotter closer to the sun). The temperatures most of us experience  – from summer to winter – are just a tiny, tiny fluctuation within that larger temperature range. A small blip downward makes us feel cold, and a small blip upward makes us feel hot.

We happen to be just the right distance from one of the huge nuclear reactors that are peppered throughout the galaxy, separated by unimaginably large voids of near-absolute zero.

So be thankful we’re living just close enough to a galactic campfire so that, most of the time, we’re neither too cold nor too hot.